It might not occur to you to see your dentist for sleep apnea, but many dentists have advanced training in diagnosing and treating this disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea can keep you from living your life to the fullest and it can also have a significant impact on your health, so it’s important to see a specialist and get the treatment you need so you can get the restful sleep you deserve.
Understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing becomes shallow or even pauses throughout the night—sometimes hundreds of times. While this jolts you out of a deep sleep, it doesn’t usually wake you completely, so you’ll likely have no recollection of this occurring. This is why it can sometimes take years for sleep apnea to be diagnosed.
These pauses in breathing happen when the soft tissues in your airway relax and block air from passing through. You might not know this is happening, but what you do notice is a persistent feeling of tiredness no matter how many hours you sleep, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. Occasionally, you may wake yourself up with loud snoring or by gasping for air. All of these are signs for concern.
In the long-term, sleep apnea has the potential to be life-threatening, as it increases the risk for mood disorders, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Chronic sleep deprivation can make it difficult for you to focus at work or school, and even increase your risk of a car accident when you drive.
Seeing a Dentist for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Dental sleep medicine is an effective alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines; many patients find oral appliance options from their dentists to be much more comfortable, as there’s no mask to wear every night or noise from a motor. Patients also appreciate that their oral appliances are easy to travel with and keeping them clean is much simpler than the maintenance required for a CPAP machine.
Oral appliance therapy works by repositioning the lower jaw when you sleep. By doing so, the tissues in your airway remain engaged rather than relaxed, so they don’t block your breathing and cause snoring or sleep apnea. Dr. Malahias has been designated as a Qualified Dentist by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, which means he can help diagnose your sleep apnea and create a custom-fitted oral appliance so you can breathe better.
Your oral appliance will help you get the restorative sleep we all need to feel and perform our best. Many patients remark that they feel like a brand new person once they begin oral appliance therapy! We’ve also helped patients who have had difficulty tolerating CPAP therapy successfully switch to an oral appliance instead.
Learn More About Sleep Dentistry in Groton, CT
Do you suspect that you might have sleep apnea? Do you currently use a CPAP machine and would like a more comfortable treatment option? Contact us today at 860-446-8744 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.